This is an extended version of the profile that appeared in the May issue of Investment Advisor, part of AdvisorOne's Special Report profiling this year's members of the IA 25, the most influential people in and around the advisor universe. See the complete list and Special Report schedule for extended profiles of all the 2011 members of the IA 25.
Controversial doesn’t begin to describe her. Loved by Democrats, criticized by Republicans; praised by the New York Times, disparaged by The Wall Street Journal, Elizabeth Warren is the living embodiment of the struggle for balance between consumer protection and market liberalization.
Warren is the Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law at Harvard Law School (currently on leave) where she taught contract law, bankruptcy and commercial law. As the chief architect of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), she has faced both praise and skepticism from lawmakers about the agency she is constructing.
Nowhere was this more evident that at a hearing held in mid-March by the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit.
Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and one of the CFPB’s biggest opponents, said to Warren that while “no one questions your commitment to consumer protection,” the CFPB will “make the decision when consumers are protected and when they are not.” Bachus went on to say, once again, that the CFPB is “the most powerful agency in Washington” as it will be allowed to “regulate all consumer financial products and services,” and that the “definition of financial product or service will be defined by whoever is heading the agency.”
Besides mainly Republican lawmakers' worries that the CFPB's mission to protect consumers could trump safety and soundness concerns for financial services firms, they also want to rein in how the CFPB will be funded.